Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Formative Smut Contest Winner! Plus (Arguably) The Most Delightful Entry Which, In a Cruel Twist of Fate, Did Not Win

"Before I was out of the 5th grade, I had read Judy Blume's 'Wifey,' repeatedly perused a number of Hustlers, and watched (and re-watched a few times) 'Clockwork Orange.' I turned out OK, but I don't recommend that course of study for anyone," read MattM's excellent, yet also cruelly non-winning, entry in the What Was Your Formative Smut? contest.

There were so many good entries that, in the end, I just went with first responder @empiregrrl. For empriregrrl's promptness, she gets her choice of the highly fuckable Pearly Waterproof Vibrator from Good Vibrations OR a $50 gift card, also provided by Good Vibes.*

So yes, completely loved everyone's entries and it was so good to know I wasn't the only Jr. Perv skulking around in the back aisles of book stores looking for dirty information I might one day need. Back then--I said, sounding like a fucking grandma (a phrase which, now that I write it, sounds like it could be interpreted another way entirely)--such activities were absolutely not discussed. I think this was especially true for girls, but maybe for everyone. I felt like what I was doing was wrong, pretty shameful and I was probably the only one in the world who did such things. I never mentioned any of it to anyone, ever.

(Until now, that is, when I'll tell all of y'all, plus any weirdo who happens to wander in via some fucked up Google search [like today's Misguided Googler who arrived via "Demi Moore anal." Sorry to displease! Come again any time!])

I hope it's different for curious kids today. No one should feel like a creepy weirdo because they want to know about a damn basic fact of human existence. I mean, we don't keep the Knowledge of Eating secret, forcing kids to sneak online to see how to cut a steak or something. (Although if the secret food porn was like regular porn, it would show cutting the steak easily with a butter knife, the steak would be moaning "ohyeahohyeah" etc...) My point is, we really need to stop being such babies about sex.

We *may* be getting better about this. The sex ed at my daughter's middle school, according to my interpretations of the giggling from the back seat during carpool, actually shows kids how to put on a condom. Though, weirdly, they demonstrate this using a pear instead of a more obviously penile-looking fruit (Banana, I thought you had this gig!) I can see this causing further confusion as girls faced with their first set of dick n' balls try to decide which part looks more pear-like.

At the end of the class, my 13 year old daughter will be coloring a picture of "The Uncircumcised Penis" which I plan to display on my refrigerator because I think the idea of a penis coloring page so perfectly captures the awkward, uncertain space that a 13 year old kid occupies--no longer really into coloring, but sure as fuck not ready for "The Uncircumcised Penis."

Anyway, like I said, I loved all your entries, especially this one from Keppie. It's kinda long, but if you have the time, it's totally worth it--funny, true and containing the phrase "he thrust his man-meat into her pulsing velvet cavity."

Love you hard. That is, a lot. Not, you know, hard. Though that's pretty good too.

xoxox
jill

The Guide(s) to Good Sex
by Keppie

Dr. Ruth's Guide to Good Sex, by Dr. Ruth Westheimer

The huge red and black block print on the cover gave nothing away other than the title, but wasn't that enough? Good sex, it screamed in inch-high letters. Guide. A book that was confident enough to put that on the cover had to deliver. In the late eighties, I was still naive enough to know I didn't want to be naive anymore, and this book promised a good solid start in losing some of that innocence—and in a practical way, to boot! It was written by a doctor, so it had to be a reliable source. Of course I had sat through “the talk” with my mother and the requisite basic sex-ed course in school (I was of an age that it was still given on filmstrip. Filmstrip!), but I was ready to learn more than the fundamentals. I wanted to know ... what it was no one was telling me. In short, the good stuff. The fun stuff.

I had recently begun reading romance novels (known charmingly and colloquially as bodice-rippers) for the informative smut to be gleaned from them. Janelle Taylor, Danielle Steele, Johanna Lindsay, to name a few. I quickly learned to recognize which authors were “soft porn”: i.e., mostly kissing and some canoodling scenes before cutting back to the plot (yes, there is some plot in those things), and which authors featured all-out X-rated passages, with the whole deed spelled out in lurid detail. The thing was, as a young reader, it wasn't quite explicit enough. I say that because while the scenes were invariably exciting, the flowery language used phrases like “he thrust his man-meat into her pulsing velvet cavity”. While this is undeniably specific and leaves no room for doubt about what is happening, as I reached an age where I was starting to wonder how I would one day fit into this scenario, it left me more and more terrified. Did I want man meat shoved at me? Did I want to pulse like that? Could I? I looked at the boys in my band class and in the hallways of my school who I had known for years and on whom I'd developed crushes, fleetingly and somewhat regularly since puberty, but I couldn't link liking them to what I was reading in those novels. Man-meat indeed.

Beyond the somewhat skeptical education they endeared, romance novels had left me with another, less tangible yearning: the idea that I wanted to be part of a relationship like the ones I was reading about. Apparently, relationships that were blissful, romantic and ended happily also included man-meat and pulsing velvet cavities. Therefore, if I wanted to be happy, I'd better figure it all out. Since no one in band class was offering to help me, I had only my own ingenuity on which to rely. As a time-tested nerd, I turned to the resources that had never failed me in the past.

Which brings us back to Dr. Ruth.

I don't recall where I found the copy of it; I know I would have been too mousy to have checked it out from the library. It is far more likely that it was wedged on the shelves in our musty basement collection of rag-tag books for some reason. Wherever I acquired it, I squirreled it away under my Laura Ashley pillow sham for further inspection when I was sure not to be disturbed. Reading romance novels is one thing; you can always claim that you like the story. People may or may not believe you, but there it is. There is only one reason you'd be reading a guide to good sex, and it isn't for the plot. My underage cheeks burned at the notion that anyone would guess I was even interested. I cracked the cover and dived in, waiting to be overcome with tips to make me a sex goddess.

Suffice it to say that the book was a major disappointment. It was a somewhat dry medical text that was directed, predictably, at people who needed practical advice about something that they had been doing for a long time and, presumably, no longer found even the word “sex” titillating the way a teenage girl did. It was sex advice in print form as if your eighty-year old no-nonsense German grandma sat you down and told you the best way to bake a kuchen. Which is pretty much exactly what it was. At an age where the power of rampant hormones hijacked me into raging arousal for Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (God, why?), I got nothing out of it. It was a disaster.

The next and last book in the my misadventures of my sexual awakening came not long after the Dr. Ruth incident. I had gone back to the solace of my romance novels, and I had recently found one at a bargain bookstore for a good deal. It wasn't the kind I normally read—I preferred wild time-travel fantasies or romps through the middle ages—as this one didn't have any swoon-worthy cover art featuring Fabio and some half-naked lady. It was a woman's face, clearly from present times, which was kind of a bummer. In its favor, however, it did feature glittery purple letters for the title, which read “Working”. At the price of only a quarter, how could I refuse? As an avid reader, I knew I'd be through it in a matter of a few hours. I bought it.

The book that lives in infamy is “Working” and in tiny letters, had I read more closely, says: “My Life as a Prostitute” by Dolores French with Linda Lee. I did not notice the subtitle until I had it home, wherein my eyes practically popped out of my head. As I mentioned earlier, though, I was an avid reader and curiosity got the better of me, so I began to read.

“Holy shit”, I would have said, had I not been a goody-two-shoes. Then “Holy shit” again and some more for good measure throughout the memoir, which was an extremely frank (and funny) recounting of this woman's years in the business of prostitution (not a surprise, since it clearly stated that on the damn cover). As a side note, she later goes on to become the president of HIRE (Hooking is Real Employment), campaigning for women's rights and becoming a real activist for the cause, but to be fair I was not interested in the empowering part of her story at the time. I was interested/horrified by the descriptions of sex, which were plentiful and detailed. In a way the romance novels were not, I might add. No man-meat to be found here.

Instead, my naiveté fled during the course of 200-some pages as I read about people doing things to each other that, in my brief and inadequate reading of Dr. Ruth and Danielle Steele, I had no idea was even an option for people to do each other. I read about people peeing on each other in bathtubs while being dressed up as cats and eating tins of cats food (why? why?), sex on canola-oiled up sheets, men who liked to smell farts, men who could only come if they were being spit on ... my brain rebelled. What if Adam from band class wanted me to smell his fart? Oh my God! But I was also undeniably turned on by all of the things I was reading. What was happening? Why was I so turned on by the clearly disturbing things I was reading? Was I a weirdo? Was I going to grow up to be a hooker, too? Cue: existential crisis in suburbia, big time.


Fast forward to today: I am a (moderately) well-adjusted wife and mother of five. I don't have all the answers, of course, but I can tell you that I did not grow up to be a hooker. I am cringing more than a bit when I think back to the day when I thought that being turned on by something taboo was a sign that I was abnormal, or that being a hooker would be something to be ashamed of. I realize now that while there are many sex workers who are in that position because they have no other choice, there are many who are there because they want to be, and there should not be a stigma attached to that work. I'm also cringing a little at the fact that I didn't get a hold of a Playboy or National Geographic or pretty much any other magazine and have a regular sexual awakening like every other person in my peer group, for God's sake. Dr. Ruth? If I could go back in time I'd slap my own self, Jesus.

As a mother, what can I do to keep my own kids from growing up in ignorance the way that I did? It's a difficult question because I don't think my own mother would say that I was ignorant. She talked frankly with me about anything/everything and made sure I had all the answers that I could ever want or need. I wasn't ignorant about the facts. I was ignorant about that magic ingredient that you only get with experience, and that's ... experience itself.

Short of wanting my kids to have experience before they are ready, there are two great reading resources (still a nerd!) I would recommend to my kids. One is “Perv” by Jesse Bering. It explains why we like what we like in a thorough way. The other is an online sex advice column by Dan Savage called Savage Love. I am a little ashamed to admit that Mr. Savage has educated me a lot about a lot of things that I feel like I should have known about already. But it's never to late to learn, right? And learning about sex is fun at any age.

In that spirit, I hope you can learn something from this, even if it is just to remember that I'll bet we all have a lot in common as a generation in our (lack of) experiences when we were younger, even if it is to a more ridiculous degree for some (looking at myself here). If we can share and learn to laugh about it, then there's something to be gained as a group. Also, if you have kids, please don't let them learn about sex from Dr. Ruth. That's what you should really take away from this whole thing.


*Good Vibrations/my Corporate Overlord gives the blog a kickback for your purchases made though this blog. So if you need something to stick on, over, or inside you, see what they have.

(photo: Papardelle. The Ballad About One Wiśniewska)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe what has been described could be termed as "erotic intelligence" or "erotic mind". There's one more very good book on this topic by Jack Morin The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment. As Esther Perel and some other therapists say, the erotic mind does not work by the rules of political correctness. According to them, the human psyche does not always (especially in that sacred space of mischievous play called sex) work by the rules of good and responsible citizenship. I believe that a truly healthy psyche is capable of drawing clear lines of demarcation between "daylight living" and "nighttime play". To my mind, a human psyche could be likened to an oxymoron, for it is not accidental that very often people are called "walking"contradictions".

The Bun said...

That was lovely, and yet for some reason the main comment I came away from it with is, if we're going in a Prince Of Thieves direction, I'm on the Christian Slater "Will Scarlet" train and have been since my little brother went through his Robin Hood phase and watched that movie Every Damn Day (he was 7, I was 12). Hopefully that makes you feel better, Keppie, if you're still out there lurking!

in bed with married women said...

Anon, sounds so good. putting it on the list. thanks!

And The Bun, you are so good at comment schmoozing that, today, I am hereby bequeathing upon you the honorary title of IBWMW Minister of Commenter Relations. Huzzah!


The Bun said...

OMGOMGOMG
I will try to live up to the dignity of my office.
Which will probably the first time anyone's put me and "dignity" in the same sentence without it involving "lack of" or expletives.

SSH Gratis said...

the pics look like good

Anonymous said...

Re Anon and the lines of demarcation.
My wife told me when we wed that her opinion was that a good wife should be "A lady in the drawing room, but a whore in Bed".
Furthermore, her mother had advised her to: "have sex with your husband as often as possible, or else he will simply go somewhere else" . I have never asked My M-In-law if this was true, (she still kinds freaks me out)
I also read somewhere that the marriage bed "should be the adult version of a kids sandbox: a safe place to play and pretend". Of course then the partners must learn to be discreet, if they are tempted to "talk outside of class" as it were. This last seems more difficult for women to do than men. Men do MUCH less sharing of their personal lives with each other.
T.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, the hours I spent as a lad of about 12-13, scanning the paperback rack at the Ben Franklin dime store. I'd look for racy covers and then carefully scan for the "good parts" that others had already found before me (the books would just sort of fall open to those spots, so I wasn't the only one doing this!) My heart would pound and my cheeks would flush and I was terrified of getting caught...but it was worth it.

I also got a good bit of sexual education from the dictionary (nerd alert!) but descriptions of the vagina as a barrel of erectile tissue really weren't all that helpful.

My great leap forward in carnal knowledge came when I found my mom's stash of dirty books, especially The Betsy, by Harold Robbins. There I learned about things like dripping wet pussies (I had NO idea) and cum spattered sheets (the horror!) and much, much more! Between that and a battered copy of Penthouse I got from a friend (including an outstanding pictorial of a MMF threesome in a giant bathtub, which fuels fantasies to this day) I began to piece things together.

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